Five hundred of our able-bodied men had been taken from us by the call of the Government, and went to fight the battles of their country. There are women and children sitting here to-day, whose husbands, sons and fathers went on that campaign to prove to our Government that we were loyal, who became widows and orphans in consequence of that requisition.
. . . We were accused of disloyalty, alienation, and apostacy [sic] from the Constitution of our country. We were accused of being secessionists. I am, so help me God, and ever expect to be a secessionist from their wickedness, unrighteousness, dishonesty and unhallowed principles in a religious point of view; but am I or this people secessionists with regard to the glorious Constitution of our country? No. Were we secessionists when we so promptly responded to the call of the General Government, when we were houseless and friendless on the wild prairies of Pottawattamie? I think not. We there told the brethren to enlist, and they obeyed without a murmur. . . .
. . . I knew then as well as I do now that the Government would call for a battalion of men out of that part of Israel, to test our loyalty to the Government. . . .
. . . Have we not shown to the world that we love the Constitution of our country and its institutions better than do those who have been and are now distracting the nation? You cannot find a community, placed under the circumstances that we were, that would have done as we did on the occasion of furnishing the Mormon Battalion, after our leading men had been slain and we had been compelled to leave our farms, gardens, homes and firesides, while, at the same time, the general Government was called upon in vain to put a stop to such a series of abuses against an innocent people. . . .
After all this, to prove our loyalty to the Constitution and not to their infernal meanness, we went to fight the battles of a free country to give it power and influence, and to extend our happy institutions in others parts of this widely extended republic. In this way we have proved our loyalty. We have done everything that has been required of us. Can there anything reasonable and constitutional be asked that we would not perform? No. . . .
. . . The outside pressure now is that this people, called the Latter-day Saints, are secessionists in their feelings, and alien to the Constitution and institutions of our country. This is entirely false. There is not another people upon the face of the earth that could have borne what we have, and still remain as loyal to our brethren as we have been and are. They might be displeased with some of the acts of the administrators of the law, but not with the Constitutional laws and institutions of the Government.